Here's an interesting fact: Animal Kingdom is actually the largest of the Disney parks, but it doesn't feel like it because most of that space is used for the animals instead of people. It's also the largest animal-themed park in the world.
We know this because Day 6 in Disney was our Animal Kingdom day, and our bus driver told us this info as part of a Disney Trivia game.
But our time in Animal Kingdom almost didn't happen due to a terrible thunderstorm in the area. The weather was so bad that we even contacted our travel agent to see about postponing or cancelling our character breakfast before deciding to stop being big wusses and just brave the weather.
Lucky for us, it was pretty simple to get to the Tusker House in Animal Kingdom where we would meet Mickey, Donald, Daisy and Goofy for breakfast. We made it to the restaurant right before the sky fell.
Anne celebrated her birthday by dancing around the restaurant with the characters, while I gorged myself on the buffet. For some reason I kept only finding the small, child-sized plates at all the buffets, while the rest of my family always had normal-sized plates. It not only made for a good laugh, but it was also good for portion control. It also challenged me to see how high I could stack my food on such a small plate. (Answer: four layers high!)
We were only able to do the Lion King show before having to leave the park due to the weather. All of the outside rides were closed due to rain and lightning, and Anne wasn't interested in the inside rides. It was our shortest and wettest day at the park, and we were stuck in the hotel room for the rest of the day. The TV in the hotel was awful - there wasn't even a pay-per-view channel - so we had nothing to do except to talk to each other.
But we made it all up the next day, when we hit THREE PARKS IN ONE DAY!!!
Day 7, we were back at Animal Kingdom bright and early. We skipped all the living animals and went straight to the dinosaur area. I showed Anne that she didn't need to be scared of the dinosaurs by fighting this dino-topiary:
My battle as Bobbosaurus even gave Anne the confidence to go right up to a full-sized dinosaur and climb all over it. I like to think that this dino was real, but was just paralyzed with fear after seeing my sweet moves take out that previous dino-topiary.
Hardly anyone was at Animal Kingdom at this time, so Anne rode the Triceratops ride six times. (Betty and I each rode it three times. It was our most-ridden ride!) The Triceratops ride is just like Dumbo, except more Cretaceous. (You thought I was going to say Jurassic, admit it!)
Next we went back to Epcot. We mainly spent time at the World Showcase and basically ate our way through it. We had already eaten steaks at Le Cellier in Canada, had tacos and margaritas in Mexico, and shared a couple of funnel cakes in America. (Where else?!) But Betty looooves the elephant ears in France, so we had to drop by and get some for her before moving onto Morocco.
While waiting in line to see Jasmine and Aladdin in Morocco, I had the bright idea to go get some baklava and sangria from a Moroccan bazaar. I paid in cash, which was the only time that I ever paid for anything outright thanks to our meal plan. This was my $7 glass of sangria, which didn't look like much but really hit the spot:
The kids napped while Betty and I ate in China. Anne woke up just in time to see Mulan.
We closed out the day, as well as our trip, in Magic Kingdom. We rode a few rides then went to our final character dinner at Crystal Palace, to see Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore and Piglet. Anne's face was worth the cost of the trip:
The wonderful thing about Tiggers is Tiggers are wonderful things... they forgive you 27 years after you punched them in the balls when you were 4 after they sneak up behind you and tap you on the shoulder in an effort to see your excited, surprised smile. (I'm still sorry about the nads, Tigger!)
Peter loved Pooh. I do, too! The night before I downloaded a bookshelf app for my iPhone, and "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh" came free with it. I read the whole thing in preparation for our dinner with the crew of the Hundred Acre Woods.
Seeing Peter with Piglet was one of the highlights of the trip. Who knew that Piglet would be such a hit?
We finished our vacation by watching a parade at the Magic Kingdom. Watching my kids watch the parade brought back all of the great memories of our trip - breakfast in Cinderella's Castle, Anne's expression when she first walked into Disney, Peter clapping and cooing on It's a Small World. All of the annoyances, like the incessant rain, slowly melted away. In my mind, I was already planning the next trip back to Disney.
Goodbye, Disney, and thanks for the memories! See you real soon!
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